The Gunners reached the Europa League final last season and viewed the competition as a way to improve their chances of returning to the Champions League given a lowly domestic position.
But a 1-0 defeat in 90 minutes on the night, matching Arsenal’s win in Greece last week, sent the tie to extra-time. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang cored a spectacular overhead kick to put them into an aggregate lead, only for Youssef El Arabi to win it for Olympiacos on away goals.
“It hurts, big time,” Arteta reflected post-match, via Arsenal.com.
“I think we did a lot of positive things in the game. I think we created enough chances to win the game, but if you concede two set-pieces again in a tie like this, then you put yourself in big trouble.
“We gave details away that you cannot afford. Even if not in the opposition box, you have to be ruthless, and we weren’t.”
Arteta conceded that fatigue was a factor in his team’s inability to get the job done.
“The players are trying their best and they kept going until the last second of the game, even when they conceded the last goal. We had the best chance of the game to win it, but that’s football,” he said.
That chance fell to Aubameyang at the death, but the Premier League’s joint leading scorer this season couldn’t take it from just a few yards out and was devastated after the game.
“I feel very, very bad,” the club captain told the BT Sport cameras. “But that can happen. I don’t know how I missed this chance. I was tired, I had some cramps but I had to score that goal.”
"It's very hard, very tough."— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) February 27, 2020
A crestfallen Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang struggles to find the words to explain his last-minute miss which saw Arsenal fall out of the Europa League.
For Arteta, his job is now to try and motivate his squad for the challenges that lie ahead.
“I just want to concentrate now on lifting those players and getting back the belief, and convince them that there is still a lot to play for, and move on,” he explained.
Source : 90min